City tries to go paperless

By Chris Steinbach · Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Running a government without paper seems as unimaginable as eating hot dogs without mustard or quarterback Payton Manning not playing football for the Indianapolis Colts.

Of course, Manning is playing this season for the Denver Broncos.

And Mayor Chad Thomas, members of the West Liberty City Council and City Manager Chris Ward are in the process of kicking their paper habit. They began using new iPads at the Council’s meeting on Sept. 4, launching an initiative promoted last year by Thomas to eliminate paper from city government.

“There may be no way to be 100 percent paperless,” Ward said after the meeting. But the new technology is handy, he said, and will reduce the amount of paper used by the city to update council members with the information they need for meetings.

“We email them the packet as a PDF (Portable Document Format) file,” Ward said. He said that will save time and money in fuel expenses because the city will no longer have to assign a police officer to deliver packets to council members on Fridays before their meetings.

 “It will pay for itself over time,” Ward said.

The move to eliminate paper at City Hall was an initiative of Thomas, a lawyer who was elected mayor in 2009.

It was part of the strategic plan approved last year by the Council and $8,000 was budgeted to buy eight iPads and an Apple TV.

Soon, the city will also buy a flat-panel monitor to put above the Council’s desk in the meeting room at City Hall.

Each council member will be able to soon use the Apple TV to show on the larger monitor whatever they have on the screen of their iPad, Ward said.

“Any one of them can take control at a Council meeting,” he said.
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